th1 A look back (and forward) at credit.What was the best card of 2014? According to two reputable sources, it was the Citi Double Cash Back.

Both NerdWallet and Cardratings.com praise the card’s unique conceit: Consumers get 1 percent cash-back on the items they buy and an additional 1 percent cash-back when they pay off the card.

“It’s the first (and, so far, only) card on the market that provides a lucrative incentive to make monthly payments in full,” notes Lindsay Konsko of NerdWallet, who calls the card “a game-changing product.”

Citi also is putting EMV chips in all of its consumer and student credit cards, making them safer than the typical magstripes. Other card issuers are putting EMV in some of their products, and apparently EMV chips for debit cards are also on the way.


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th1 150x150 Unfamiliar area code? Its probably a scam.Unless you’re really lucky you’ve probably gotten spam/scam calls, often robotic ones. The smart money is on refusing to pick up the phone if it displays an unfamiliar area code (especially a toll-free one).

But if you have friends or family in places like Detroit (313), Houston (713) or Fort Lauderdale (954), you might pick up.

Those three cities are three of the top 10 area codes used by spam callers, according to a company called Whitepages. The others are:


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th2 Change that changes lives.It was a good year for found money: a $20 bill, two fivers, a singleton, 13 quarters, 47 dimes, 15 nickels and 216 pennies, plus a ngwee from Zambia. (You find the most interesting specie in Coinstar machines.)  

That $41.86 will become a $50 donation to the Alaska Food Bank. As my 8-year-old nephew and I stacked and wrapped the coins, I pointed out that while it’s fun to find a $20 bill even the pennies add up over time. I’d be writing about this, I said, and maybe it would remind them that dimes add up to dollars.  

“Maybe it will remind them to pick money up,” he said. “Or not to drop it.”


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th1 150x150 Get free retirement info on Nov. 18.Just a heads-up to remind you about the Retiree Next Door Tweetcast that takes place tomorrow.

I’ll be one of the two dozen or so PF wonks involved in the hour-long event, which is being hosted by MoneyTips.com and certified financial planner Jeff Rose.


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20140909 MoneyTips Fincon The retiree screen Res FINAL 150x150 What does it take to retire successfully?Where I grew up, people worked for as long as possible and felt diminished by retirement. Now it’s seen as a second chance.

Some people still say they plan to spend their golden years improving their golf swings or lying around in hammocks, but increasingly retirement is becoming an opportunity to start over: trying a different type of work, learning a new skill, maybe even running off to join the Peace Corps.

If you’d like to learn more, tune in to the Retiree Next Door Tweetcast next Tuesday, Nov. 18. Co-hosted by MoneyTips.com and certified financial planner Jeff Rose, the one-hour event will answer common questions and any additional queries sent in by listeners.


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